The re-release of Ghilli, the 2004 Tamil blockbuster movie, on April 20 has already crossed a record collection of ₹30 crore in two weeks and the bull run continues in theatres across Tamil Nadu, in some other parts of the country and internationally. Reports says in 2004 it made a box office of ₹50 crore.

The Vijay-Trisha film is now the fourth highest-grossing Tamil film of 2024 at the domestic box office, trailing behind Captain Miller, Ayalaan and Lal Salaam. The movie was re-released to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary.

Cinetrack said Ghilli (2004) re-release globally rakes in ₹30.5 crore approximately in two weeks run. In India the collection was ₹24 crore, including ₹22 crore in Tamil Nadu; ₹1.35 crore in Karnataka and ₹6.25 crore internationally (Europe, Singapore and Malaysia).


Reports say that Ghilli’s re-release has broken the record of director James Cameron’s epic science fiction film Avatar (2009), which saw a collection of ₹18 crore when it was re-released in 2012 in India. This was followed by Ramesh Sippy’s action-adventure film Sholay (1975) with a collection of ₹13 crore when it was released in the 3D version in 2013.

The re-release has created a sensation in the districts. For instance, Umaa Rajendra Cinemas in Dindigul in southern Tamil Nadu said in X, “Record alert. Ghilli crosses 13,000 footfalls today and becomes the No.1 Tamil film of the year. A 20-year-old filmmaking history and breaking records for fun. One unforgettable run which felt like a new release.”

Similarly, Jayalakshmi cinemas in Pallipalayam in the western district of Erode said nearly 6,000 tickets were sold. This is the biggest achievement for a re-release with the highest number of houseful shows in 2024. The movie had no.1 footfall after Manjummel Boys.

Ghilli, a remake of the 2003 Telugu film Okkadu, in which Velu (Vijay), a Kabaddi player, during a trip to play a match in Madurai gets in to trouble when he saves a young girl named Dhanalakshmi (Trisha) from a ruthless gang leader named Muthupandi (Prakash). Written by Bharathan and directed by Dharani, Ghilli had cinematography by Gopinath and editing by B Lenin and VT Vijayan. AM Rathnam produced the film.

S Ramachandran, Associate Professor of Marketing at IFMR Graduate School of Business, who teaches a course on the Business of Creative Industries, said the success of the re-release could be attributed to both the movie and the actor. It is nostalgia. The fan associations might also play a role in the hype, not sure though. The re-release phenomenon is also due to the lull in new releases because of the elections.

Movie re-releases

From a business perspective, the success of Ghilli’s re-release is pretty interesting. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, re-releases were a frequent feature in the film field and many failures in the first run had a second opportunity to do well at the box office. It worked well for many distributors and exhibitors; several films did well in the re-runs. Even first-run profitable flicks used to come back for re-runs to cash on the opportunity. After the metamorphosis of single-screens to multiplex format, satellite channels and the advent of maximum screen shows and carpet-bombing techniques, re-releases went to the back burner. Screen availability for even the first run of some low-budget films became a problem.

The success of Ghilli’s re-run might kick-start a trend of re-releases of past hits. Already, there is industry talk that Y2K hit flick “Khushi” and 2007 hit “Billa” might see a re-run, Ramachandran said in a social media post.